When the Fort Wayne Komets signed former 1st Round NHL pick, Angelo Esposito; everyone– including Esposito– knew that this was a last ditch effort for the oft-injured former blue chip prospect to make a dash towards getting a regular NHL roster spot. Especially after two seasons in Europe, Esposito had to start somewhere in North America in order to achieve his dream and Fort Wayne seemed to be a great place to do it.
Hours before the home opener in Fort Wayne, the Komets released Esposito to make room for Mitchell Heard; who was sent down by the Colorado Avalanche– the Komets’ parent affiliate.
With a solid showing in the pre-season, with two goals and four points in three games; it almost seemed that Esposito could be finally getting his career back on track, so long as injuries didn’t take their toil on the forward. Right now, however, the question is whether or not any other ECHL team will take a flier on Esposito; especially considering the huge risk/reward situation going on. Not only that, but with a lot of teams dealing with affiliations and making sure the NHL prospects get more of a look than some of the veterans, then Esposito could be caught in a little bit of a rock and hard place. Luckily, by only playing 231 games in other minor leagues and abroad, he won’t be considered a veteran in the ECHL; so it’s not as if they’d have to clear a vet spot for him.
Despite all the offensive upside that could happen, throughout his career in major junior, the AHL, ECHL, and Europe– he has never played more than 60 games. The concern for him to be reliable and healthy is going to be a hard sell on some teams that may be looking at him. His decline in scoring throughout his career probably won’t have people rushing to snag him because the pre-season could be a mirage. Though, the reward to the risk is a player who could be hungry and has plenty of offensive prowess and could very well score 20 to 30 goals on the season. Plus, if he feels like this is his last chance, then you know he’ll do all he can to get to that goal.
Yet, if some ECHL teams don’t pick him up soon, will he still have that hunger while he waits?? Will he even try to go down to the SPHL in order to get some games in and then earn spots that may come from there?? More over, why wouldn’t a team take a chance if it’s not going to cost much and if you have a guy who is going to be ready to play to prove even more people wrong.
With this release looming over him fresh in his head, this is a make-or-break mentally for Esposito, who probably didn’t see something like this coming when he came back over to North America and signed with Fort Wayne to get back on track. If he cannot process how this happened, it could be a huge hurdle to overcome for his next team that he’s on. While it’s back to the drawing board again, if Esposito truly thinks this is the last chance for him– he’ll find a way to sell a team of his services and be able to just see this as a small speed bump this season.